After back-to-back weeks playing against Northeast Conference powers at home, the University at
Albany football team heads to the road to face the struggling Blue Devils of Central Connecticut State.
While the Great Danes (3-0, 4-2) are in sole possession of first place in the conference, CCSU is just 1-3 and 2-5. Although the Blue Devils were conference co-champions a year ago, 19 turnovers in seven games have pushed them well back in the pack.
“We are on that fine line between cockiness and confidence,” said UAlbany head coach Bob Ford, who has 251 career wins. “We are playing very, very well right now, but sometimes, it’s hard to keep that focus.”
The Great Danes are playing inspired football during a four-game winning streak. They have piled up more than 435 yards in four straight contests for the first time since the 2000 season.
Last week, quarterback Dan Di Lella passed for a career-high 279 yards and three touchdowns in UAlbany’s 28-17 victory over Robert Morris. Di Lella completed 20 of 30 passes during the game, which also featured 93 yards on 13 carries from tailback Dillon Romain.
Guilderland graduate Andrew Smith has accounted for 100 or more total yards in four straight games.
“There are several reasons why we’ve been playing so well, and one of them is that our group of no-name offensive linemen has
matured,” said Ford. “Probably none of them will be all-conference players, but they are doing well.
“The other thing is that we’ve had a nice balance of running the ball and passing the ball. Di Lella has really come on. When he first got here, he definitely had a Division I arm, but he was the kind of guy who wanted to check out the stats after the game. Now, UAlbany football is his top priority. The other thing about Dan is that he’s become quite a runner. He’s a big 6-foot-5 kid who kind of rambles out there. He’s grown into a decent runner as well as good passer for us.”
CCSU, which has dropped four straight games, is paced by quarterback Gunnar Jespersen, who has thrown for 1,089 yards and five touchdowns. He also has 328 yards rushing and five scores on the ground. Deven Baker has 31 receptions for 373 yards and four touchdowns, while Raul DeBenedittis has 26 catches for 304 yards. Running back Brian Fowler chips in with 354 yards rushing and two scores.
“Everybody picked CCSU to win the league this year after sharing the title last year,” said Ford. “But they haven’t taken care of the football very well, and they don’t have that one big star like they did in the past. Their best player is definitely their quarterback, and we’ve got to try to keep him under control. The problem is that he runs the option, and it will be difficult for us to keep him contained on the inside.”
UAlbany has won 10 of the previous 15 meetings with the Blue Devils.
The Engineers celebrate their homecoming and reunion weekend against St. Lawrence today at 1 p.m. at East Campus Stadium.
RPI, 1-1 in the Liberty League and 2-3 overall, is spearheaded by junior quarterback Mike Hermann, who has connected on 84 of 147 passes for 1,028 yards and eight TD passes. He also tops the team in rushing with 468 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Senior running back T.J. Strunk adds 248 yards rushing, while junior wideout Austin Caswell is Hermann’s favorite target with 22 catches for 328 yards and five scores.
RPI averages 31 points and 386.4 total yards per game.
St. Lawrence (1-2, 2-4) is led by senior running back Marcus Washington with 838 yards rushing and five touchdowns. The Saints average just 17 points and 275.5 total yards per game.
Union is idle this week.
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Categories: College Sports